Hulu cuts off Boxee, Old Media takes one step forward, two steps back

Users of the growingly popular Boxee media platform will no longer have access to Hulu, after the Fox/ NBC JV decided that letting people watch programs for free where they want wasn’t part of the game plan.

Hulu didn’t elaborate on the reasons behind the move, saying only in a post that

Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via and our many distribution partner websites.

The real reason though comes back to the threat Boxee represents. In a tight market where cable subscriptions are heading down and TV networks are bleeding advertisers, services such as Boxee offer TV or cable like convenience without the same costs, and likewise the revenue streams expected by old media. Boxee was too much of a substitute for Fox and NBC to handle, and in taking one step forward with Hulu itself, and now taking two steps back by locking up that content by restricting where it can be played.

The net result is easy to predict. More piracy of content, and NBC and Fox lose even more. A short sighted decision from myopic media companies.

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